Artificially Aged: 1964 Bugatti 35B Replica

If someone offers you a Bugatti Type 35B for the princely sum of $10,600, there are a couple of possibilities. The first is that what they are selling is a replica. The other possibility is that they’ve made a mistake, and a few zeros have fallen off the end of the price. In this case, the fact that this Bugatti is listed as a 1964 model is a dead giveaway. This is a replica, and it is probably a vehicle that you will either love or hate. Regardless of which camp you fall into, there is no denying that it is distinctive. If this is the next “must-have” for you, then you will find the Bugatti located in Venice, Florida, and listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN is the previously mentioned $10,600, although the owner could be open to offers or possible trades.

This is one of those vehicles where it is hard to know where to start. It probably won’t surprise many of you to learn that this car is based on a 1964 VW Beetle platform. Draped over the VW is a fiberglass body, so rust in the panels will not be an issue. The owner didn’t want this to be a “cookie-cutter” replica, so he has gone to the trouble of artificially aging the exterior to give it some character. I’m not sure that I agree with him on this, but I guess it is a matter of individual taste. I believe that the owner’s time and effort would have been better spent finding a more appropriate wheel combination for the car. The original alloy wheels on a Type 35B are a defining characteristic of the vehicle and make a statement about strength and elegance. These wheels simply don’t work for me. I think that a set of wire wheels might have struck a good compromise, which might be something for the buyer to consider.

Under the rear of this replica are the obligatory flat-four 1600 VW engine and 4-speed manual transaxle. The owner has spent some money here, which is good news for the buyer. The entire braking system, including all of the lines, has been replaced. The front suspension bushings are new, as are the shocks. The list continues with a new generator, new carburetor, and all new fuel lines. The owner states that the vehicle runs and drives well. Look, it might not be a real Bugatti, but it does have the potential to provide some enjoyment. The new body would weigh significantly less than the steel it replaces. That means that while it is never going to frighten a genuine Type 35B, it has the potential to blast a regular Beetle into the weeds.

The interior is all that you might expect from a replica, but with an interesting twist. In keeping with the exterior’s character, the owner has chosen to age the carpet and the seat artificially. Once again, I’m not sure if this is something that I agree with. The seat could potentially be returned to a pristine state, but I think that the carpet would need to be replaced.

I think that the seller could have better spent his time and effort on this vehicle’s dash. However, that might be something for the buyer to think about. The original Type 35 featured a gorgeous machine-turned dash. I am not suggesting going down that path because the cost could be hideously expensive. However, I would be inclined to source a set of matching gauges that were more in keeping with the vehicle’s character. It is easy to find some high-quality machine-turned adhesive vinyl, and if this is applied correctly over a clean and smooth surface, it can look deceptively real. That is an option that I would consider because the result could be quite impressive. I would also consider sourcing some more appropriate switches, along with a different steering wheel.

I know that replicas don’t appeal to everyone, but if you are searching for a car that will give you a sense of enjoyment, they are quite hard to go past. As is the case with most of them, this one is based on humble underpinnings. However, because it would weigh considerably less than the donor vehicle, it has the potential to offer surprisingly good performance. It is also worth considering that the drivetrain in this car appears to be quite standard. The beauty of the VW engine is that there is almost endless scope for performance upgrades. That opens up the possibility of transforming this replica into a bit of a bitumen burner. Get the vehicle looking right, and you might have a car that looks timelessly elegant and has the power to match. And it would cost a whole lot less than the real thing!

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Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Did you catch the name on the dash. Cute!

    Like 4
    • angliagt angliagt Member

      I believe that’s the name of the company (or model).
      I’d get tired of everybody asking me if it was a real one,kind
      of like owning a Cobra (sarcasm).

      Like 3
  2. KEVIN

    the drawer pull on the dash is a classy touch

    Like 11
    • 4501 Safari Member

      First thing that got me to read the comments!

      Like 3
  3. Turbo

    Hmm. I thought I would hate it, but after looking at it, I am now ambivalent. Why bother? But then, why not, it would be fun to tool around in. But why not build a front engine kit for something like this? That VW sound…and the dash. OK, back to hating it.

    Like 4
  4. Barney

    I had one of these back in the 80’s. It was kinda fun to drive but you sure had to be careful as to where your elbows were

  5. bobhess bobhess Member

    To make the car look like it got dug out of a field somewhere makes me wonder if sniffing the paint wasn’t the real reason for doing it. Turning something that probably looked good in the Buggatti blue into junk doesn’t excite any nerve I have.

    Like 4
  6. Andrew S. Mace Member

    I just went over my list…and NOTHING is checked off; sorry! Maybe if one could adapt a 42″ mower deck…. ;)

    Like 6
  7. Little_Cars

    That’s got to be the lamest looking race car # affixed to the radiator. Looks like a vinyl cutout and in the wrong font. Why not give it a genuine Bugatti team livery and stencil it onto the grille? Just not scaled properly.

    Like 3
  8. xrotaryguy

    Even the front axle looks out of place. Maybe a Model T axle or something? It really, REALLY looks like a VW kit car.

    At least it doesn’t look like all the others 🤷🏼‍♂️

    Like 2
  9. Barney

    If this car is like the one I had, which I think it is. It was built on a VW pan with the torsion bar front suspension hence the weird looking from axle.
    It is most definitely a kit car

  10. JMB#7

    Almost stopped reading when I got to the VW kit part. I like VW kits, but this car needs front engine rear drive. I like the looks but the party would be over as soon as you hit the starter. Just the wrong combination.

    Like 2
    • Dave Mazz

      Yea, if it had a front-mounted engine, maybe a French-built OHC straight eight, at around 10 grand, I’d be interested. :-) :-)

  11. Ward William

    Beetle engine ?!?! Piece of crap. Take a look at the replica Ant Anstead just built of an Alfa 158 from the same period and see how it’s really done.
    This POS would only be worth buying if you were going to replace the engine with a real engine where it should be put.

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